House approves Bukidnon’s 4th legislative district – records

MALAYBALAY CITY – (Bukidnon News Dispatch/04 October) The House of Representatives approved Monday House Bill No. 5236 or the “Act
Reapportioning the Province of Bukidnon into four legislative
districts,” House records obtained by Bukidnon News showed.

The House approved the bill on third reading on October 3, 2011 with
217-0-0 votes, barely a month after it was filed on Sept. 5, 2011. It
was the house committee on local government, which recommended the
approval of the bill in its Committee Report No. 01402 submitted on
Sept. 5.
The house bill substituted House Bill 4382, which was filed in March
this year by Bukidnon 3rd district Rep. Jose Ma. Zubiri III,
co-authored by 2nd district Rep. Florencio T. Flores Jr. and 1st
District Rep. Jesus Emmanuel Paras.

The bill took an urgent move in the House. It was first read in the
plenary on Sept. 6 and was included in the official business on the
same. On Sept. 7, it was approved on second reading and then
distributed on Sept. 13, with the explanatory note adopted as the
measure’s sponsorship remarks. Twenty days later, the House voted
unanimously on the bill.

The bill would have to pass through scrutiny of the Senate and would
need President Benigno Aquino III’s approval to be signed into law.

Rep. Zubiri III, principal author, filed on March 15 the bill
reapportioning the first (1st) and second (2nd) legislative districts
of the province of Bukidnon to hereby create an additional legislative
district in the province of Bukidnon to be known as the fourth
legislative district.

The Committee on Local Government heard the bill starting March 22.
Bukidnon News has yet to obtain a copy of the House-approved bill.

As of the public consultation on January 6, the proposed district
reconfigures the composition of the existing three districts. Vice
Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri explained then that the requirement of 250,000
population for the creation of a new district is behind the
reconfiguration.

Bukidnon, with a population of 1.19 million based on the 2007 census,
has three legislative districts at present. The second district where
Malaybalay and Valencia cities belong has a population of 474,943.

The move will put the two cities apart in separate districts.

Board member Nemesio Beltran, Jr, said earlier the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan has passed a resolution in February 2011 incorporating
the outcome of the consultation.

He said that the new district will be composed of Valencia City and
the towns of Pangantucan and Kalilangan, which belong to the present
1st district.

The 1st district will be composed of the same towns in the north
except Pangantucan and Kalilangan.

Only Valencia City will be taken out from the existing second
district. This means, Impasug-ong, proposed to be included in the
first district, will stay with the district.

The third district will not be reconfigured.

According to Beltran, based on the 2010 census of population each of
the reconfigured three districts and the proposed new district will
pass the population requirement for the creation of a new district,
which is at least 250,000.

Meanwhile, House Bill 5341 or the proposed act creating three
additional Regional Trial Court branches in Bukidnon remained stuck in
the House.

The bill proposed to station two new RTCs in Malaybalay City and
another in Valencia City amending for the purpose Section Fourteen
(14), paragraph (k), of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as
“the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980” as amended, and
appropriating funds therefore.

Rep. Flores, author of the bill, filed it on Sept. 28. The bill was
read on October 4 at the House committee on justice.

RTC Branch 10 executive judge Josefina Gentiles-Bacal said in March
the lack of court salas worsen the sorry state of the province’s
justice system in particular the delayed resolution of cases.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines has pushed for the creation of
additional RTCs in the province because of its impact on the
administration of justice in Bukidnon.

Isidro Caracol, IBP Bukidnon chapter president said the province needs
additional five judges for the municipal circuit trial courts, at
least one additional regional trial court (RTC) each in Malaybalay and
Valencia cities, and five other RTCs in the rest of Bukidnon.

Presently, there are four RTCs in Bukidnon, 3 are in Malaybalay and
one in Manolo Fortich.  Bacal said in March that the RTC branches 8, 9
and 10, all based in Malaybalay City, were handling between 2,600 and
2,700 active cases.

Bacal said that with this number criminal cases take an average of
five years to resolve and civil cases, especially land disputes, 15 to
20 years. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)

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